A surreal adventure in Dušan and Voitre Marek: Surrealists at sea
Attention teachers – this information is for you!
You are the captain of your class and will be in charge of exploring Dušan and Voitre Marek: Surrealists at sea.
Facilitate the following activities to engage your students with works of art while they look, imagine and draw some surreal scenes in the exhibition!
You will need a surreal school kit which includes:
- Lead pencils
- Sketch books (A5)
Make sure students each have a pencil and sketchbook before you enter the exhibition space.
Dive into Surrealists at sea and make your way to Gallery 25.
Look at the work My Gibraltar for one minute.
Now spend one-minute thinking/writing of some words in response to this work of art (like a word association game).
Play a round-robin with each student sharing one word from their list. Continue to share a different word, how many times can you get around the circle before you run out of words.
Back in the classroom
Collate the words from your round-robin game and use them as a starting point to write a short surreal story.
Students may simply share one word out loud.
Individually, students are encouraged to write down their responses.
These are quick exercises that the captain (teacher) will direct:
- Draw your favourite animal using the hand you write with (1 minute)
- Draw your favourite animal using the hand you never write with (1 minute)
- Draw your favourite place or food standing on one leg (1 minute)
- Draw the work of art in front of you only using straight lines (or using circles or triangles). (1 minute)
- Draw a continuous line drawing of another work of art without taking your pencil off the page. (1 minute)
Draw the person in front of you without looking at your paper or taking your pencil off the page.
Halfway through drawing, instruct the students to turn their paper upside down or on its side and continue drawing.
Exquisite Corps is a game surrealist artists played and one that is still popular today. Participants take turns in drawing a section of a body on paper, folding the drawing to hide their contribution, before passing it on to another person to draw the next section. Sometimes the results are funny, odd and grotesque!
Find examples in the exhibition where Dušan and Voitre Marek have applied this method to their work. Draw your favourite exquisite corps!
Using the concertina sketchbook try your hand at your own exquisite corps. You could take inspiration from some of the themes in the exhibition.
Back in the classroom
Try some more exquisite corps with writing, poetry or collage.
As a class make a list of the objects you can see in the works of art by the Marek brothers. For example, clocks, boats, water etc.
Teacher to lead! Using the class list, call out one of the words. Students to draw this object from memory. After one minute, call out a different word. Student will stop drawing the previous object and begin drawing the new one. Continue this method, repeat word and vary the time between each prompt. Students may join their objects together in some way so that it becomes one drawing.
Life in Australia: Surrealism, travel & the ocean
Discover more about the brothers' long and varied life in Australia
Role of the curator
Get to know Elle Freak, Assistant Curator, Australian Paintings & Sculpture
The Gallery’s Learning programs are supported by the Department for Education.
Art Gallery of South Australia staff Elle Freak, Kylie Neagle and Dr. Lisa Slade contributed to the development of this resource.